Sports change with the seasons. As leaves start to change colors, you know that football season is going to start soon. Then as the weather gets chilly, you’ll retreat inside to cheer on a basketball team. With the seasons come moments and memories waiting to be captured, which is why you need the right video recording equipment.
Rather than waiting for the day before the first match of the season to get your equipment together, start gathering it now. Give yourself the time you need to make sure you have the best quality equipment so that you can catch every minute of every game throughout the season.
As you start to prepare, here’s what you should look for as part of your sports video camera system.
It might seem obvious, but if you want good quality footage, it all starts with your camera. With the ever-growing market for digital cameras, it’s impossible to determine just one winner. Here are a few things that you’re going to want to look for in your camera.
For some cameras, when you take regular footage the image is crystal clear, then everything turns into a pixelated mess when you zoom in. Make sure that your camera can record high-quality footage, even while zoomed in. You will get much better quality with an optical zoom rather than a digital zoom. An optical zoom uses the lenses in the camera – keeping the image resolution very high. A digital zoom essentially crops the image which lessens the quality. For some games like soccer or lacrosse, a high-quality zoom is a necessity because the field is so large. Even if you set up your camera close to the field, important action can be tucked away into a corner on the opposite side.
As a minimum, your camera should be 720p (HD). If that’s not good enough quality for you, look for a camera that records in 1080p (full HD) or even 4K (ultra HD).
When looking for quality cameras, make sure that the resolution you’re reading about is in regard to film, not still pictures. There are some cameras that advertise Ultra HD, but only with pictures, not video.
There is a difference between high resolution and high frame rate. A high resolution is about the quality of the image, while the frame rate is about how many frames the camera captures in a given period.
While there is some argument about the limit of frames that is noticeable, the general information is that low frame rate is going to produce rough or choppy movements, while high frame rate will be much more fluid and true to the action.
For most sports, a speed of at least 60 fps (frames per second) is recommended. Before your first game, make sure that you play around with your camera to understand its strengths and limitations. While it might be possible to record in 4K at 60 fps with your camera, that puts a major burden on it and may only provide 20-30 minutes of recording. You’re going to want to find a balance between quality footage and battery and memory life.
An absolute must-have for any recording checklist is a stable, lightweight tripod. You can have an amazing camera with high resolution and frame rate, but you can ruin all of the footage if you don’t use a tripod.
Without one, you either have to hold the camera for the entire game and hope that your arm doesn’t get tired or try to put together a pile of books, bags, and coats to support your camera. You want better footage than that, so a tripod is the best solution to make sure you get quality footage every time.
When you’re looking into tripods, consider getting an elevated tripod. One of the best angles you can film a game is from an elevated point of view – at least 16 feet above the field surface. This gives you the ability to see the entire field or court in one shot. An elevated tripod also cuts through the crowds. Rather than having to constantly work around the heads of people sitting or standing in front of you, you have the best seat in the house to see all of the action.
With your camera in the air, a swift breeze can make the tripod start to sway or even fall over. Don’t forget to bring sandbags to help stabilize the base to keep all of your video recording equipment safe.
If you want the highest quality footage and a good experience recording sports, you shouldn’t overlook some of the accessories that should be part of your kit.
You need to be able to easily transport your sports video camera system to and from every game. You don’t want to have to make multiple trips from the parking lot just to get all of your gear together, so you need to be able to carry it in one trip.
As part of your carrying bag, you should also consider the overall weight of your gear. It’s great that your camera, tripod, and accessories all fit in one bag, but what good is it if it weighs 100 pounds? You need a way to not only store your camera gear, but it needs to be light enough for you to easily carry.
Normally you can use the display panel on the camera or even the viewfinder to see what is being recorded, but if you’re using an elevated tripod, that’s a problem. You’re not going to get on a 16-foot ladder to look through the camera’s display. You need a way to see what your camera is recording. Otherwise you’ll be guessing about where the camera is pointed and if it’s catching the action of the game, or just zooming in on a dead piece of grass.
That’s where a monitor can help. A small LCD monitor lets you see what your camera sees. With a monitor you can move the camera knowing that you’re catching the action. A monitor takes the guesswork out of using an elevated tripod and is an essential part of any sports video camera system.
Just like a monitor is needed to see what your camera is recording, a remote is needed to make sure that you are able to control the camera. Simple things like turning your camera on or off or zooming shouldn’t require you to climb up a ladder. A remote lets you access your camera while it’s on the tripod without having to get up to it or bring it down to you. It’s a small quality of life improvement, but you’ll be able to tell the difference in the final footage with the freedom a remote brings to your recording.
Another point to consider is if you should use a wireless or wired remote. Wireless or even Bluetooth remotes are good for recording family events, but many times wireless or Bluetooth remotes have too much lag time between when you push a button on the remote and when the camera responds. This can make recording a fast-paced game like lacrosse or soccer a very frustrating experience.
Some games can feel like they last forever, and sometimes the most impactful moments happen in the final minutes of the game. You need to be ready to record the entire thing, so part of your kit should include spare batteries, powerpacks and maybe even a battery charger.
Cables and Cords
You could try to hunt for each piece of your sports video recording system one at a time, but that will take time, and there’s the very real risk that pieces of your system won’t work together. Or, you could get your entire system in one place with SVT packages.
Why should you choose to go with SVT? As part of these packages, you get a strong, lightweight aluminum tripod with a sturdy 16-foot carbon-fiber composite camera pole, plus a monitor and remote. We also offer power packs and all of the cables and cords that you need to make the system work together. Contact us today for more.